Unreal Experiments

Real-time rendering is a game changer in the film and motion design industry. Post office studios is always exploring new ways to tell stories in new interesting ways. I was closely involved in our early explorations with unreal engine, We produced some fully cg work as well as some virtual production prototypes.

Service

R&D

Client

Post Office Studios (Internal)

Year

2021

Responsibility

RnD, Design, Technical Direction

Some initial product tests - Realtime

Home is now an entire ecosystem wherein worlds that were otherwise separate, now collide. The film thus, is about our changing, adaptive, versatile spaces at home,  with a variety of environments existing in the same room.

The furniture provides modular functionality that helps the room shape according to the need of the hour. Considering the trend we took inspiration from minimal, modular furniture and interiors.

A typical Indian Bus stand

First set of outdoor renders made with unreal's raytracing rendering setup, all lights are rendering real-time, no baking involved. This was a good exercise to learn about unreal's lights, volumes, cameras and materials. It was a challenge to get rid of the noise to create real-time clean renders.

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An interior setup created with raytracing methods, no baking involved

Though the results were decent, we were getting a framerate of 45-50 fps on a bulky machine, we wanted to go lower. After playing around in the engine for a few days, I realized a ray-trace baking hybrid can be good in terms of performance and render quality.

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Interior setup created with a hybrid lighting method

This second method turned out to be way better, both in terms of performance and quality. Using NVIDIA's GPU light-mass resulted in quick realistic, non noisy renders. 
After being comfortable with the render engine we wanted to explore some Virtual Production. We found some basic equipments in office's store. With the help of a few folks we managed to create a makeshift Virtual production unit for the experiments. Now came logic, creating all the setup required basic knowledge of blueprints, fortunately I had worked with blueprints earlier for some other projects so it was not a total disaster.

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Early makeshift setup with minimal equipment

This was a good start, but the real issue was making everything perfect, perfect chroma key, perfect camera replication, perfect genlock track and perfect sync of the real and virtual footage. After a few days of trying and failing we finally has a setup which was giving us decent results.

Over the weeks we progressed, and we were able to create something much more reliable.

R&d projects are fun, exploring new things and figuring out ways to solve a particular problem fuels me. Virtual production and real-time rendering is a very powerful technology and I am excited to experiment more with it.